Welsh Government urged to act now to relieve pressures of Ukraine war on farmers and consumers
The Farmers’ Union of Wales has written to the Welsh Government calling for help to alleviate some of the pressures created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Welsh farmers and consumers.
Last month a request for a food summit including farmers, processors, and retailers was rejected by Lesley Griffiths MS, the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, who said the Welsh Government did not believe such a meeting was appropriate.
Last week Scotland’s Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon called for a four-nation summit to consider how to respond to “hardship” in the food sector linked to the Ukraine crisis, having set up a task force in a bid to mitigate impacts, resolve supply issues and strengthen food security.
In a new letter, FUW President Glyn Roberts has renewed calls for ministers to do what they can to tackle the impacts of the war and accuses both the Welsh and the UK governments of failing to act to address and mitigate supply chain issues early enough, warning issues are likely to continue until at least next year.
“We are acutely concerned at the failure of both the Welsh and UK Governments to engage with the supply chain early on in order to explore immediate actions that will help mitigate problems that are having an impact now and will continue to do so for the remainder of the year and at least into 2023,” Mr Roberts wrote.
“Such impacts are affecting and will continue to affect not only farmers, but also consumers, and this is therefore an issue not only for the food and farming industry but also for the Welsh and UK population as a whole.”
Mr Roberts also highlighted the need for the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group on which the Welsh Government sits to take a more proactive approach and share information in a more timely manner.
“It is worth noting that the last set of minutes published on the UK Government website relates to a meeting held on 8th February 2022, many weeks before Russia’s attack on Ukraine.”
“I know you will be aware of the impacts being reported across the supply chain, whether in terms of cooking oil, fuel, feed or fertiliser, and predicted shortages, for example of eggs, and we fully appreciate that with regard to many of these there is little if anything that the Welsh Government can do.
“However, there certainly are actions that can be instigated by the Welsh Government to alleviate some pressures for Welsh farmers which will benefit consumers over the coming months and years, and while these may be limited, we believe it is incumbent upon the Welsh Government to act now in order to do what it can to assist farmers, food producers and consumers.”
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